Wauwatosa School Board votes to approve new 'Human Growth and Development' curriculum

Updated: 10:48 p.m. on Aug. 22,2022

WAUWATOSA (CBS 58) -- The Wauwatosa School Board voted 6-1 Monday night to approve an updated “Human Growth & Development” curriculum. The new curriculum will go into effect this November.

For the past 10 months, an external committee comprised of community members, parents, students, administrators, educators, health care providers, and members of the clergy worked to update standards that were 10 years old.

In creating the new curriculum, the committee incorporated standards from The National Sex Education standards, Wisconsin state statutes, the state Department of Public Instruction standards, and the district's youth risk behavior survey.

Hundreds of people rallied outside ahead of the board meeting, and the crowd inside was so large it required a second auxiliary room for those unable to fit into the board room.

The board listened to more than two and a half hours of public comment from students, parents, educators, and doctors. Most of the gathered crowd outside and inside supported the approval of the new standards, but a contingent of people opposed to the new curriculum also attended the meeting.

The curriculum follows state guidelines to set age-appropriate standards for each grade level from kindergarten through high school, some of which focuses on communication about sexuality between children and their families, acceptance, inclusion, anatomy, gender identity, consent, and body image.

Wisconsin state law requires districts that teach Human Growth & Development provide families with an option to opt their students out of some or all topics.

Published: 4:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2022

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Monday, The Wauwatosa School Board will vote on a controversial curriculum, human growth and development proposal.

If the proposal passes, students of all ages will learn about gender identity, relationships, and consent.

"I am rising to speak against implementing this curriculum, as it's currently written," said one parent at a school board meeting, Monday, Aug. 8. 

If the board passes the proposal, each lesson would be tailored to the learning ability for students in kindergarten through high school.

"I think this is human education 101, we are all human, we all have these body parts, we just need to know how to use them safely and respectfully," said Catlin Berry, external committee member.

Supporters of this proposal say it's important to educate students about their bodies and gender identity without outside influence.

Berry goes on to say, "I would far rather our children branch some of these topics regarding human growth and development, regarding sex and body parts, in a forum that is safe, with educated professionals as opposed to hearing this information for the first time online or from their peers or somebody that does not have their best interest at heart."

Critics argue some kids might not be ready for these types of conversations.

"Children are still children, and we talk about anxiety and mental health, I have to be honest some of these things create that anxiety," said one parent at the school board meeting Monday, Aug. 8.

Berry told CBS 58 parents can opt of having their children participate in the curriculum.

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